The core is the most vital part to train when wishing to gain the full effects of all your hard work! It's a great way to enhance your overall exercise routine, and with a strong core you can improve all other aspects of your cardio and physical training. Our friends at Hillmotts are here to give you some tips!
So what are core muscles?
Commonly the muscles of the abdominal wall are considered, "core". This isn’t strictly true, as those muscles are at the surface, the same way the skin of an apple is surface to the core of the apple. The core muscles are the deepest muscles which lie closest to the spine and exert the greatest control over balance and coordination.
Training the core helps to improve your balance and stability, which are essential for strength training. All too often people want to improve their “core strength” but in reality it’s their balance and co-ordination that needs to be improved.
Keep it compounded
People make the mistake of assuming that to train the core you need to isolate the muscles, but this isn’t strictly true. Yes you can isolate the core and integrating this into your training is great but don’t just focus on the core - Instead work on compound exercises that also include the core such as squats and lunges. To further the benefits of these exercises you can add in twists and turns as you do them with light weights to really work those muscles.
5 great core exercise ideas
- Swiss Ball Push Up - Lie face down on an inflated exercise ball with both hands on the floor. Walk your hands out, allowing the ball to roll beneath your body until it is under your shins. (Beginners can keep ball under the thighs.) Your hands should be directly below your shoulders. Keeping your torso straight and abs contracted, bend your elbows and lower your chest. Stop when your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Pause and return to start. Do 8 to 12 reps.
- Swiss Ball Hamstring Curl - Lie on your back, with your legs extended and heels resting on the ball. Press your heels into the ball, contract your abs and glutes, and lift your hips so that your body forms a straight line from your feet to shoulders. Immediately bend your knees and roll the ball in toward your back. Extend your legs and roll ball back out, dropping hips to starting position. For an added challenge, keep hips off the floor for entire set. Do 10 to 12 reps.
- Plank Exercise – The standard plank exercise is a great way to build balance and improve the strength of your entire body in one movement. It’s important to ensure correct form when performing this exercise so if possible, get your gym instructor to show you how it’s done before attempting this as doing it wrongly can cause imbalances.
- Kettle Bell Swings – This isn’t an exercise in isolation but rather integration – working all the muscles required to build the balance and thus the stretch needed for your core
- Push Up’s – Ensure that you are taught correct technique but when doing a full push up correctly it creates the perfect exercise to work your core in all the ways you need to ensure you build the physique you desire!